The Writing Leap Literary Salon

literary salonOn Saturday night I read a short story I’ve been working on at a Literary Salon hosted by Alexandra D’Italia, professional writing coach at The Writing Leap here in Los Angeles, and my writing buddy.


It was a good turn out, and so there were a bunch of people curled up on her back lawn. I was nervous. I’ve only read to an audience a handful of times, and every time I get nervous. To compound things a bit, the woman who read before me did a charming job of sharing her new project – a modern guide to manners. My story is about breakup sex. It uses more than a few swear words.

The good thing about Alex is that she doesn’t cringe. She can love a book about manners AND embrace a fairly raunchy short story about trying to leave one’s boyfriend, over and over. She knew what I was going to read, and it was her party. So I went for it.


Getting over that fear of putting yourself out there as an artist is hard. My hands were shaking when I first took the stage, but it went well. I even got a few laughs. It was very encouraging to have people seek me out after the readings and tell me they liked it.

Best of all, before I read, I mentioned that I wasn’t happy with the title, and afterwards, a had a great discussion with a slightly drunk couple who compared my story to trying to quit smoking. The husband suggested I call it “How to Quit Smoking,” and there is actually some smoking in the story. But driving home that night, I landed on “Quitter.” It’s perfect. Thanks slightly drunk couple! You guys rock!

I can’t wait for the next literary salon. I won’t be reading. I get to just go and enjoy myself.

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Literary Events in Southern California for the week of September 26, 2016

It’s Banned Book Week!
What? You didn’t know? It’s a good thing you checked in here to see what’s happening around LA’s literary scene. To be sure you don’t miss any of the great stuff going on, consider signing up for my weekly email digest. Basically, it’s the LitLifeLA post delivered to your inbox every Monday morning. Spam free. Promise. Continue Reading →

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Why Blogging Matters

In the many years that I’ve been blogging, I have had more than a couple discussions with other writers about why (and in fact if) blogging matters.

Why Blogging Matters

Yes, you hear all the time about how writers need to build up their platforms, blah, blah, blah. From what I’ve observed, if you start a blog to build your platform, you’ll last about a month. But, if you love writing (and if you’re reading this, I’m going to assume you do), consider that your blog is a venue for you, by you. How cool is that?  Continue Reading →

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Submit Your Stories to the Right Journals

submit-right-journal-for-youIn a previous post, I shared my free, downloadable spreadsheet for keeping track of where you submit your short stories. But when you download it, you will find yourself looking at a blank sheet. No one can tell you which are the right journals for your story. You have to decide that on your own. But how do we decide, as writers, where to submit our work? Continue Reading →

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The Final Ten Percent

final ten percent editingIf you follow along, you know I am working on two novels right now. The first I began years ago as my thesis project for my masters in writing at USC. It’s actually not too far from done, but at the beginning of the summer I stuck it in a drawer just to take a break from it and get a little perspective (as per the advice of super-writer Mark Sarvas). Continue Reading →

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